By JOHN T. WARD
The Count Basie Theatre‘s search for a new chief executive officer has ended on the West Coast.
The Red Bank nonprofit announced Monday that it has hired Adam Phillipson, managing director for the past four years at the Santa Clarita Performing Art Center at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, to run the performance space on Monmouth Street.
Justine Robertson, a Rumson resident hired as interim CEO in June, will become chief operations officer, reflecting management strengths honed running a family-owned for-profit theater in Hartford, Connecticut for 18 years.
A 45-year-old native New Yorker, Philipson brings to Basie extensive experience in programming, fundraising, community outreach and educational programming for the arts, theater officials said.
He’s credited with having grown the Santa Clarita theater into a premier venue while developing exemplary educational and community outreach programs. He previously helped launch the $45 million Broad Stage in Santa Monica where he was the assistant director.
In an interview Tuesday morning, Philipson told redbankgreen that he was approached by a headhunter about the job, formerly held by Numa Saisselin, who’s now running the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Florida.
“I think it’s obvious how far Numa was able to take the organization and to increase its stature” among performing artists, he said. To someone involved in stage programming, he said, “that’s always juicy.”
“I saw that there was a beginning and some really great work that we could continue,” he said.
“Adam is the ideal person to maintain and further develop the world class venue that the people in the community and region have come to expect and deserve,” Tom Widener, chairman of the Count Basie Theatre Foundation, said in a prepared statement.
Philipson also has an extensive 16-year-long professional acting background that includes roles in several Off-Broadway performances, two national tour theatrical productions, and one Broadway role with over 400 performances as Eugene Morris Jerome in Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound.” He’s also done more than 100 national and local television and radio commercials and appearances in more than 25 episodic television programs and feature films.
Philipson is scheduled to start work at the Basie on November 5. He and his wife, Alma, a certified public accountant, plan to visit the Red Bank area next week in search of a new home.